Talk About Chutzpah: Michele Bachmann Tries Yiddish, Fails

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Oy gevalt.

Maybe Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann should leave out the Yiddish.

While appearing on “On The Record” on Fox News, Bachmann took aim at President Barack Obama’s handling of the negotiations on raising the nation’s debt ceiling.

“The president doesn’t want to have to be confronted with priorities in spending,” Bachmann said, “because he has a lot of chutzpah.”

The only problem is she did not say “chutzpah.” She seemed to say “choot spa.”

Watch: What Chutzpah!

Nobody has more chutzpah than New Yorkers. And we know that it takes chutzpah to say “chutzpah” and mispronounce it.

According to her website, Bachmann is originally from Waterloo, Iowa. We’re guessing not a lot of Yiddish is spoken there.

We tried searching for “choot spa” on the web. It would be in poor taste to print what’s definition of “choot” is, but we can link to it. That got us thinking: what does “choot spa” mean? Tell us in our comments section below.

What do you think of Michele Bachmann’s creative pronunciation of Yiddish? Sound off in our comments section.

  • Chris C

    That’ll happen when men learn how to be men from the era you’re looking for. Cut down trees with axes, fix cars themselves instead of taking them to a garage, shave with straight razors instead of safety razors with moisture strips for their delicate skin, earn enough money on their own to support their families… Until then, stick a sock in it.

  • douglas

    go 2 hell

  • Etaoin Shrdlu

    As opposed to those of us who prefer that candidates who chose to present themselves as historical and constitutional experts ACTUALLY KNOW WHERE LEXINGTON AND CONCORD ARE?

    Lighten up, “Alex”, of course Bachmann’s mistake is silly, and so are the comments, but at least no one is going to die because of it.

    Meanwhile, thanks for demonstrating how thin-skinned some people can be. Let’s see if Bachmann has the simple grace to admit she made a mistake. She can then add, “So what?”

  • from the middle

    Wow, the US is full of naive and shallow individuals. I am a Minnesotan and I know how to correctly pronounce chutzpah. It is all to scary that these are the kind of people we want representing us in government. Maybe we should go back to Thomas Paine and common sense…the original TEA PARTY. Not this non-sense fraction of narrow mindedness.

  • miraweb

    I’m fabulousl amused that the letters she mispronounced – are in her last name.

  • Dale Auburn

    The key is that Bachmann DID NOT “misspeak” anything. If you look up “choot” (follow the link in the article), you’ll realize that (1) she DELIBERATELY chose that pronunciation and (2) she knew EXACTLY what she was saying about Obama.

    • Alexandra

      I agree that she probably deliberately chose that pronunciation. She is a very intelligent woman and also has lived in Israel, so I doubt she would use that word if she did not know how to pronounce it.

    • Chris C

      Incorrect, when you consider that Bachmann did NOT say “choot” spa. CBS is misspelling her mispronunciation. What she said was more along the lines of “chuht-spa”. Go with THAT spelling/pronunciation, and your theory is out the window.

  • Ashley Uumlaat

    I want to be the first to wish Michele Bachmann a merry Choo-ristmas!

  • Wig Wam Willie

    If Michelle Bachmann pronounced it “choot spa,” then “choot spa” is the Official Republican pronunciation, so it is correct and the entire Yiddish language is WRONG.

  • Joe Fattal

    If that whom we going to be faced for the next four year I will vote for Obama anytime.

    • sanity

      Yeah, but she can pronounce “corpsman””

    • Richard Schatten

      Bravo!!! I agree wholeheartedly…that, takes a lot of Chutzpah t
      It Appears, That…In A Strange, Round About Way…She Really Complimented Barack Obama!…Chutzpah, Among Yiddish Speakers, It’s Not A Compliment…But, In English, Chutzpah Often Connotes Courage Or Confidence. By Now, Knowing Bachmann Great Intellectuality in The Academia, And The Fact, She Did Not Know, How To Pronounce It…She Did Not Mean…The Yiddish Interpretation ! :-)

  • JLogan

    It was a brilliant move! She will now get SNL coverage for sure, just like Palin. (Or, her writers need to stick to single syllables, no more than 2 consonants in a row.)

    • Chris C

      She started to get SNL coverage the first time she couldn’t figure out which camera to face. ;)

  • 880Watch

    “That got us thinking: what does ‘choot spa’mean? Tell us in our comments section below.” But wouldn’t it be in poor taste” to print possible definitions? Or is WCBS’ license safe, if you can blame the public?

    • joshsucks

      Chutzpah means nerve or gall.

      • Wig Wam Willie

        Yes, but this person’s point was about “choot.” Follow the link in the article to find out about that particular vulgarism.

  • 880Watch

    I am the farthest thing from a Bachmann person, but so what!? Frank Sinatra came from Hoboken and spent a great deal of time in New York City. Grab a recording of the movie version of “Guys and Dolls” and listen to Nathan Detroit sing, “So noo?” She DID get the meaning right, in context.

  • The Whole Megilla

    I’d give her my chutzpah!

  • Gemini Audax

    Oi, John Galt!

  • Micha

    In one week Michele Bachmann has managed to offend: gays, Roman Catholics and Jew. I am thinking she should drop out of the race now… I couldn’t stand this woman from day 1

    • Chicago Fan

      Michelle Bachmann didn’t offend a single JEW wither pronunciation of CHUTZPAH. Bachmann volunteered to live on a Kibbutz in the southern part of Israel following the Yom Kippur war with Israel—so before you criticize her for poor pronunciation you have to consider that she has a love and dedication that is unmatched by any other politician.

      • Wig Wam Willie

        To Margaret Wolfson:

        That’s funny, because Jews believe that the Mochiach (Jewish “messiah”) is the one who will (1) establish global peace, (2) eliminate poverty and suffering, and (3) return all the Jews to Israel.

      • margaret Wolfson

        Don’t be silly. Her love of Israel is based in a desire to see Jews who don’t convert burn up in the Rapture. According to fundamentalist Christians of Bachman’s (and Palin’s) stripe, the Rapture will only happen when Jews have returned to Israel. I’d say this is selfish love. It has nothing to do with the Jews as human beings, and everything to do with Jews as a concept that Born Again Christians (of this persuasion) to get to heaven! So much for selfless love.

      • joshsucks

        Yeah, right! It wasn’t her pronunciation that matters as much as her non understanding of the meaning of the word. Her usage makes no sense. Probably doesn’t matter to you because you didn’t pick up on that either.

        If you’re going to quote Yiddish, you should use it in the proper context or else suffer the fate of Ms. Bachmann who came off as an ignoramus when she tried ti impress people that she once heard the word chutzpah. She doesn’t understand the meaning of the word and how to put together a sentence with the word chutzpah. That really is how to look stupid without trying.

        Who cares about her love and dedication about anything, much less the people and state of Israel. Your remark is canard and an besides the point.

      • ctbeckyw

        So you’ve polled ALL the Jews worldwide and none were offended? Wow, CBS stands corrected.

      • MOT

        Margaret is right on.

        Willy: It’s mashiach in Hebrew (actually it’s משיח for real in Hebrew) or moshiach if you’re speaking Yiddish (no, really!) And just so we’re clear, the “ch” is like in Bach or CHUTZPAH!

        And two religious that don’t agree with each other? Really, what a surprise.

        Honestly, people…

    • ctbeckyw

      Don’t forget she offended African Americans too and every time she speaks she offends intelligent people. Sounds like a true Repugnican to me.

  • Any Politician

    Can’t we just agree that we should spend more money that we don’t have? It’s the American way.

  • Who cares

    New Yorkers can’t speak English so what’s it matter if a Midwesterner can’t speak Jewish

    • joshsucks

      It’s Yiddish you SCHMUCK! Nobody speaks JEWISH! except for “experts” like you.

      • mike

        Actually, the name Yiddish (yidish in Yiddish, Jiddisch in German) comes from an old Jewish-German way of saying ‘Jewish’. The name literally means ‘Jewish’. So, saying “Ich spreche Jiddisch” would literally mean “I speak Jewish” (though modern German, would be spelt Jüdisch). Saying that someone speaks Jewish is as accurate as saying Yiddish as they mean the same thing.

    • ctbeckyw

      It’s Yiddish, Who. Jewish isn’t a language.

      • Chicago Fan

        Actually, some Eastern European Jews call Yiddish “Jewish”. As in speaking “Jewish”.

    • Chris C

      New Yorkers can communicate in more languages than most Midwesterners even know exist, including English. :P

  • Neil Gelerter


    • Chicago Fan

      Chutzpah doesn’t mean BALLS.

      Chutzpah means an unmitigated nerve. The audacity of a dope.

  • Neil Gelerter

    Maybe a few weeks in Crown Heights would help her define Chutzpah.

  • Neil Gelerter

    Oy vey is mi, leave the shixa alone already.

  • Neil Gelerter

    Oy vey is mir Leave the shixa alone already!

  • Craig

    I read where she spent a summer on a kibbutz in Israel when she was younger.
    And from the Mariam Webster dictionary —
    Variants of CHUTZPAH
    chutz·pah also chutz·pa or hutz·pah or hutz·pa

    • Chris C

      There is no such thing as the Mariam Webster dictionary…
      BTW, the MERRIAM Webster dictionary has/does add new pronunciations for words if people continually mispronounce them and they become “accepted” pronunciations, even if they are WRONG.

  • ConservativesRStoopid

    Where I come from, chutzpah – pronounced properly – is a GOOD thing. It means gutsy audacity.

    And if telling Congress – especially the Republicans – to stop whining like spoiled, selfish five year olds who care more about their posturing than actually serving the people who elected them and to GET TO WORK AND SOLVE THE PROBLEM LIKE RATIONAL ADULTS is having chutzpah, then yeah, Beans for Brains Bachmann is right. For once in her life.

  • AndyJacksonian

    The author of this article ought to be taken out back and shot forthwidth for this cheapshotpuh. What an idiot!

    • joshsucks

      Why? Because the author pointed out what an idiot Bachmann is?

    • RachelJacksonian

      Andrew Jackson would have you horsewhipped and then shot for daring to invoke his name to defend an idiot like Bachmann.

    • Chris C

      Pretending it didn’t happen won’t make it go away. Bachmann’s (and every other politician’s flubs) will live forever, in video form, in cyberspace. Deal with it.

  • AndyJacksonian


  • HooDatIS?

    michelle buttman is a loser

  • Sarah

    Why is this news? I hear people mispronounce things on television all the time but this liberal rag of a news organization refuses to report the real news? Come on…this is blatantly one-sided reporting and has nothing to do with what is really going on in the world. This is a feature story? Really?

    It takes real choot spa for you to call yourselves a news channel!

    • Chris C

      Are all of those people looking to run for President? No? Well, there ya go. She brought the attention on herself as soon as she threw her hat in the ring. It’s called, “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.”

    • John in DC

      My concern is that to mispronounce that word might be a derogatory slur towards Obama and Jews.
      Did she go into the interview not knowing what she was going to say? Was she not prepped by staffers about what to say and what the questions would be? She just pulled chutzpah out of thin air with no prep to risk looking stupid? With as much time as she spends on hair and makeup does she not spend similar time on answer prep?
      So to mispronounce the word seems intentional, an the strategy behind that mispronunciation is what disturbs me.
      So, a presidential candidate potentially beig derogatory towards specific groups of people? Yes, I call that news.

  • EWagner635

    Is this really newsworthy???? How about reporting on the issues like a good news organization should???

  • mj

    yhis woman is an idiot …. shes HOT but an idiot none the less

    • mj

      this ^

      • Billah

        She and Palin are hot compared to Hillary Clinton. It’s like saying Danica Patrick is hot….when compared to sweaty Bud Light Nascar racers…

  • creamofwheat

    How could anyone possibly support Botchman!?! She is one chromosome away from being not “quite right”! Everyone always wants to know what is wrong with politics…well here is your answer…political parties. When a gang of people support someone as idiotic as Bachman simply b/c of her political affiliation and not what she brings to the table (which is nothing but comedy…unintended comedy at that). I’m not waiving the Obama flag either…I’m just completely fed up with groups putting their party before what is good for their own country. How hilarious is it that most of the red states are southerners, typically lower-middle class. Conservatives have done nothing for you except play on your ‘gun rights’ and ‘religous’ beliefs and you continously drink the kool-aid and forget how they hose you (and the country) everytime they get into office!

    • tray117

      Right on!

  • Daniel S. Toma

    What a Michellegeneh

    • Deb Shapiro

      Bwahaha! Thanks for the giggle, Daniel! Good one!

  • Al

    “Well, Hello Mr. Smuk” lol
    This is what happens when tourists act or tawk like New Yorkers. Yikes.
    Please don’t. Thank You.

  • vy

    Tea Party Frueline Herr Bachmann must have mixed up her Yiddish with her German

    • mike

      Not really… Chutzpah is pronounced the same in Yiddish and German, given that Yiddish is a dialect of German and they use the same phonology… I doubt that you’d hear the word Chutzpah used often in German proper, though.

      Also, “Fräulein Herr” doesn’t really make any sense… “Girl Mister”?

  • Mr Putnam

    What the heck does a redneck from Iowa know about chutzpah anyway?

    I’m sure she orders corned beef on white with butter and mayo when visiting her favorite kosher deli!

    I like you Michele and believe you bring a breath of fresh air to the race but leave the Yiddish back home in “Tooterville!”

    • danny

      WOW!! I don’t know whats grosser. That sandwich, or your feelings for Mrs. B?

    • joshsucks

      Uh, where are you going to find mayo in a Kosher deli, Dilbert?

    • Chicago Fan

      Apparently more than most. She lived on Kibbutz in Israel following the Yom Kippur war and has been active within Jewish circles for years. I have been to Minnesota and that could very well be the way her purple Jewish constituents speak Yiddish!!

      • ctbeckyw

        More the reason the pronunciation should have been correct.

      • Minnesotan

        Um, she represents a district where there are almost no Jews. In fact, there’s a hotbed of white supremacist and other hate groups. I’m a Jew from Minnesota and she’s an unbelievable embarrassment.

  • avi goldstein

    we love you in israel (the country that invented chutzpa)

    • joshsucks

      Your comment is as moronic as Bachmann’s. What Chutzpa to say that Israel invented it.

    • mike

      Strange, when the word ‘Chutzpah’ was originally formed in the Yiddish language, Israel was called Palestine, and was occupied by Arabs. Yiddish is a dialect of High German, branching from Middle High German. In fact, to this day most people in Israel speak Yiddish at home, meaning that German is still heavily spoken there. All Israel has made is bad government (and I’m of Jewish ancestry from a Jewish family, I’m not a Zionist.)

      • cr

        I live in Israel and I can assure you that most people in Israel DO NOT speak Yiddish at home. How would the millions of Israelis from Arab and North African countries even know Yiddish. Where do you pick up this nonsense? Being of “Jewish ancestry from a Jewish family” doesn’t give you the right to tell outright lies about Israel.

  • Fair & Balanced

    As usual CBS does its’ best to NOT provide fair and balanced news. With the way this country is being run into the ground your personal attacks on a “conservative” yes I said the “C” word are what you find most newsworthy!

    But of course!

    • dave

      Bush Bankriupt the country now he and his croonies are ready to buy your house for 10 cent on the dollar. I guess that is what Obama means by attracting private capital.

      • Brendan Quigley

        o\f course it’s bush’s fault. let’s forget that the dems controlled the congress

      • Chicago Fan

        Actually, Its Bill Clinton, Barack O’Bama and Rahm Emanuel and their buddies that bankrupt the country. They forced the banks to hand out loans to unqualified buyers. Emanuel sat on the board of directors at SallyMae and watched it tank. Its the unholy trinity of Clinton, O’Bama and Emanuel and their friends trying to buy your house for pennies on the dollar after they dolled out unqualified mortgages and packaged them with good ones to investors—not George Bush. Bush FIRED Emanuel (he actually just killed off the do nothing director position since Emanuel was getting paid to do NOTHING).

      • from the middle

        Hey Chicago Fan,

        Rahm Emanuel is going to save the city you are such a FAN of…When will people figure out it is not about Republicans or Democrats, it is about leaders and executing hard decisions. Republicans and Democrats are all guilty of the disaster our country is in today.

    • ctbeckyw

      CBS never said they were fair and balanced. That’s the lie Fox News tells.

  • DemsBlow

    Bumbles is bankrupting this country, and this is what you write about?

    • haha

      you’re a moron.
      when the previous president went crazy on spending where were you?
      and when titan corporations like GE don’t pay any taxes after making billions of dollars you blame the President for bankrupting the country.
      go back into the kitchen where you belong.

      • HaHaIsaNob

        Excuse me Dolt, GE and Bumblea are in bed together..Which is why CNN treats Bumbles w/kid gloves..You can do your homework on that statement because I’m sure you don’t understand… It’s obvious you are stuck living in mommy’s basement. Put down the Shaker Weight” Here is what your Bumbles has done. 2 million net private-sector jobs have been lost; unemployment has increased by 1.5 percentage points; long-term unemployment is the worst ever on record; the dollar is 12 percent weaker; the number of Americans on food stamps has increased by 37 percent; the Misery Index (unemployment plus inflation) has increased by 62 percent; and the national debt has exploded by an alarming 40 percent. Mr. Obama is on pace to saddle America with more job-killing debt than all the first 43 presidents – combined.

      • Twang

        Yea Haha, you are an idiot!!!!

    • ctbeckyw

      Please. Clinton left the White House with a surplus. GW started a needless war in Iraq and left the White House in debt. Obama inherited the mess.

      Writing about Mystical Michelle and Simple Sarah are more like political humor columns, not real news.

  • f

    who cares?

    • ctbeckyw

      Those of us who could potentially be governed by this intellectual genius.

  • mike

    give me a break. At least half the Jewish dems who use it can’t pronounce it, let alone all the other dems. How do you spell double standard? CBS.

    • mike (other mike)

      Show me a reference of a jewish Democrat not being able to pronounce it.

  • Barry

    That just dropped her max potential of the Jewish vote in the general election from 2 to 1% if she wins the GOP nomination.

    • Jewish Bachmann Supporter

      What are you talking about!? I’m Jewish and think Bachmann is awesome. Who cares if she knows how to pronounce chutzpah!

      • MCK

        You have a lot of chootspah just saying that!

      • joshsucks

        You are one of those Jews for Jesus?

  • haha

    she belongs in the kitchen.

  • Fredric Gruder

    Not only that, but her statement makes no sense even if she knew how to pronounce Chutzpah.

    • Steve Zilla

      I bet even the Pope can pronounce Chutzpah.

    • haha

      does she ever make any sense?

    • K Thompson

      Bachman is sure giving Palin a run for her money. It’s a horrible and astounding thought that a woman like either one of them would think they could lead this country. Makes me feel like a genius.

  • Mr. Obama

    I bet she hasn’t even visited all 57 states.

  • Barack

    I bet she hasn’t even visited all 57 states.

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